The Mammoth Unified School Board met on Tuesday evening to decide the fate of MUSD School Superintendent Jennifer Wildman.
The stated purpose of the meeting was a personnel evaluation.
Wildman has been under scrutiny of late from teachers (whose union recently issued a vote of no confidence) and many concerned parents.
Many deemed Wildman’s approach to the handling of the Covid-19 pandemic as too cautious – that kids needed to be in the classroom.
After more than two hours of deliberation on Tuesday, the MUSD Board took no action – meaning Wildman will remain in her position.
Her contract was not extended an additional year and expires after the 2023-2024 school year.
Wildman spoke to The Sheet afteward on the difficulties of leading a districtduring a global, life-altering time.
“You try hard. You try to listen to both sides. In this case, some people have had a really hard time with the pandemic, so there aren’t just two sides, there’s 50 sides with it. It’s hard. People feel very strongly about what’s happened. I know they haven’t always been happy with the results. I get up early [each] morning and think about what’s best for kids and what are the right things to do. I always do the best I can, but I understand when people feel really strongly in a different way and how that must feel for them. It’s tough.”
Wildman concluded by sharing a hopeful outlook for the next two years. “We obviously still have a lot of work to do … we have a lot of lofty goals that we would like to meet. We’ve definitely experienced a lot of obstacles over the last few years. I am committed to the district and to our kids and making things as good as we possibly can all the time. The board didn’t renew my contract, but I still have a contract until June 2024, and I intend to use those two years to really make it the amazing district we know it can be.”
Before the MUSD board entered into closed session, seven people made public comment. A new voice was Jill Orozco’s, a 23-year teacher, who said she wasn’t even informed of the meeting where a teacher’s union vote of no confidence was taken. She attributed some of the recent unrest to union-created divisiveness.
Five of the seven spoke critically of the Superintendent and school policy, voices ranging from Dr. Mike Karch to political candidate Seth Guthrie.